All-in-one: authentication solutions for the smart campus

A university campus is a very lively cosmos in its own right. Students, faculty and staff not only move between seminar rooms, research facilities, offices or the dining hall and library, they also use different services, systems and devices. If you want to keep track of everything, you need technical support. This is provided by future-proof systems for user authentication and access control. They reliably protect people, sensitive data and university facilities from unauthorized access. At the same time, they save users and administrators valuable time.

Day after day, thousands of people come together at universities, and their daily routines and activities differ greatly. Nevertheless, everyday university life should run smoothly and be secure for everyone. Many institutions already use RFID (radio frequency identification) cards to manage access to academic facilities, administrative offices and dormitories, for example. But digitalization is opening up new possibilities.

Combine RFID cards and smartphone apps for a universal solution

Today, smartphones are always at hand — this is especially true for students. This makes them perfect as a means of identification on campus and the perfect complement to conventional ID cards. Hybrid systems therefore combine RFID cards and smartphone apps that use Bluetooth® Low Energy (BLE) or Near-Field Communication (NFC). An app implements the corresponding access authorizations, so-called mobile credentials, on the cell phone. Possible uses of such a universal solution include payment in the cafeteria, access to seminar rooms, logging into the university network, use of laboratory facilities and much more. With the growing use of digital access and authorization solutions, passwords, PINs, keys and even credit cards will increasingly be replaced.

Easy management included

Hybrid systems make it easy to switch from purely card-based access controls to ones that also incorporate digital badges. It’s an investment that pays off: a uniform system that regulates all access reduces the administrative workload for campus IT, thus saving administrative costs and freeing up time for other and more strategic tasks. This is because access levels for different facilities and systems can be easily managed on a central platform. This means that every person on campus gets exactly the access rights they need — even with time limits if necessary. Safe and secure!

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The right reader makes the difference

Due to the complex environment, campus applications place particularly high demands on access control and thus also on the readers used. These must ensure maximum security and flexibility. Readers from ELATEC meet these requirements. They act as mini-computers that can be programmed to meet almost any encryption scheme — including advanced cryptographic methods that require higher computing power. This includes the use of multiple or hierarchical keys and symmetric cryptographic methods. Still not secure enough? Then ELATEC readers can be combined with a Secure Access Module, or SAM. This additional component enables end-to-end encryption. As a general rule, however, since the reader is part of a solution, security must always be related to the overall system.

ELATEC readers are also unbeatable when it comes to adaptability: Depending on the version, they can read more than 60 card technologies, including high- and low-frequency RFID as well as NFC and BLE. What's more, they are certified for use in up to 110 countries. Universities around the globe can thus integrate card or smartphone technologies into their access controls that are already in use by service providers, partners and visiting students or faculty. And there's more: if required, the university's IT department can add new technologies quite flexibly and easily via remote updates. This provides for the digital future.

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